Police say bomb at Thai hospital wounds more than 20 people

(Photo by Dario Pignatelli/Getty Images)

BANGKOK (AP) — A bomb exploded at an army-run hospital in Bangkok on Monday, the third anniversary of a military coup, and authorities said more than 20 people were wounded.

Investigators found remnants of batteries and wires at the scene of the blast on the ground floor of Phramongkutklao Hospital, said Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, Thailand’s deputy national police chief.

“We can confirm at this stage that it is a bomb,” he said.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the explosion or if it was linked to the anniversary of the 2014 military coup that overthrew a democratically elected government.

But the army chief, Gen. Chalermchai Sittisart, said it appeared that Monday’s explosion and two earlier blasts in recent weeks used similar explosive materials and were likely part of an attempt to disrupt the government.

“All of this was conducted with the goal of creating disorder to the administrative work of the government and NCPO,” he said, referring to the National Council for Peace and Order, the official name of the ruling junta.

But he cautioned that “we shouldn’t conclude anything yet” about who was behind the attack.

The blast wounded 21 people, one of them severely, said Lt. Gen. Saroj Kiewkajee, a hospital official. Thirteen were discharged soon after the explosion.

Earlier, police said 25 people had been wounded.

Phramongkutklao is a military-run hospital that is also open to civilians. The blast radius from the explosion was 2 to 3 meters (up to 9 feet), police said.

Since the 2014 coup, at least six explosions have occurred in Bangkok.

Last week, a bomb went off in front of the country’s National Theater, wounding two people. Last month, a similar explosion took place in front of an old government lottery office, also wounding two. The army chief said those bombs were similar to Monday’s blast.

Most of the bombs in Bangkok have caused only minor damage, except for a blast in August 2015 that killed about 20 people near a popular Hindu shrine.

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